In the Heart of Winter — FNN1007021

In the Heart of Winter

limited edition — sold out

Ray’s Prayer
The Trapper
Lullaby in C
Till Someone Dares
Time For Letting Go
Northern Wind
Through the Night
Bed in Summer
The Sky Has Broken
My Annie
Reaching 44
Little Miracles
Horizon Dawn

Ray Scudero — luthier, songwriter, singer — lived in Israel for some 20 years, and died on December 3, 2005 after a protracted illness. He had a deeply-felt influence on the folk community there and is much loved and respected.

In 2005-6, Jill undertook a personal project to raise further funds to help Joanna Scudero to cover medical and other costs that had accrued as a result of Ray’s illness. She recorded ten of Ray’s songs and four others by (respectively) Joanna Scudero, Susan Jennings and herself. The title of the album is a phrase from Ray’s song The Trapper. The lion’s share of the proceeds from sales went directly to Joanna.

Please note: This is not a studio recording, but an ‘unplugged’ album recorded live in an auditorium: just the simple, straightforward way in which Jill presents her music in concert.

Here’s the text from the insert:

One night in August 1988, I received a phone-call from Michael Greengard of the Tel Aviv Folk Club: could I pick up one Ray Scudero at the gas station at the exit from Jerusalem? Driving up, I saw a tall, thin man waiting for me, a guitar strapped over his back. As he got in, I introduced myself and apologised that I wasn’t going to talk much on the journey: I was conserving my voice for my set at the club, known for its tricky acoustics. Well, we ended up chatting the entire way there… and singing all the way home.

It was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Over the years, Ray became a part of our family. I (the driver) got us lost on meandering back roads more times than I care to admit, and we sang together at more public and private gatherings than I could ever hope to count. Inter alia, he taught me about recording, sound, and song-writing — something I would not have attempted in any serious manner without his inspiration and encouragement.

It has always been a special privilege for me to sing Ray’s songs. The Israeli folk community fell for Horizon Dawn at the very first hearing, and the song came to mean even more to us during the long months of Ray’s illness. I first recorded Lullaby in C and Through the Night on my albums The Celtic Cradle and Across the Narrow Seas, respectively. It was from playing Bed in Summer that I first learned to play open-chord tuning, a style I use again for The Trapper. The latter is particularly dear to me because Ray wrote it specifically for my voice.

One night in the mid-1990′s he called, asking if I was planning to attend the Jerusalem Folk Club that evening, as there was a new song that he wanted me to hear. As I walked in the door, he began to sing Northern Wind: I was smitten with it by the end of the first chorus. I really miss singing it with him and, when I sing it alone, always hear his voice in my head.

While searching for songs for the New Year’s Eve benefit concert for Ray in December 2003, I came across some loose pages that he had once given me. I found among them the lyrics of My Annie, with a recommendation that I sing the song. Sadly, Ray was too ill to remember the melody; so, wishing to bring the lyrics to life, I have provided one of my own, in the hope that it may be some faint echo of the original.

The other songs on this album are also from within our close musical circle. Ray’s Prayer was written by the most special woman in his life: his loving wife, Joanna. Our dear friend Susan Jennings has generously permitted me to sing her very personal story in Circle of Love. I wrote Little miracles in response to Ray’s illness and that of several other friends; and Time for letting go, first recorded on my album The King’s Well, is included here by special request of Ray and Joanna.

On this ‘homespun’ album, you will hear the songs as I sing them in concert — without frills. Recording them in a single two-hour session, I found myself singing the lyrics directly to Ray. It was an intensely emotional experience, and you can hear it. It is not a ‘performance’ as such, but rather a very serious, intimate conversation between friends.

To see reviews and comments on this album, click here.

A special plea: Please do not make illegal copies of this album: its entire purpose has been clearly stated. ‘Nuff said.

Ray Scudero

Ray Scudero
RIP